All the news, views and transfer rumours from Old Trafford this weekend…
Manchester United may still have only made one signing this summer, but the rumour mill continues to turn at a furious pace. For our United-specific transfer news you can read our Saturday report here and our Sunday report here.
It may not have gone according to plan, but there were still some positives to take from United’s opening pre-season defeat against Singha All Star XI on Saturday.
The match ended 1-0 courtesy of a strike from the hosts’ captain Terratep Winothai. But while United fans will be disappointed to draw a blank, they only had one recognised forward in the shape of Danny Welbeck; while there were exciting glimpses of Adnan Januzaj and Wilfried Zaha.
The 18-year-old Belgian is highly regarded at the club and was given a squad number and a place on the bench in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge. But if he puts in more performances like yesterday’s, it won’t be long before his game-time accumulates.
Speaking after the match Moyes said of Januzaj, “The more he plays like that the more opportunities he is likely to get.”
Surely the same can be said for Zaha, who showed what he is capable of during a 27-minute cameo in the second half.
“Wilfried did well,” Moyes said. “He gave us something different.”
That “something different” is exactly what United were lacking at times last season.
United’s next pre-season match is against A-League All Stars in Australia on Saturday.
It is the transfer saga with no sign of ending, but fans of the champions may be grateful for that. Because the latest news surrounding Thiago Alcantara suggests he is not – at least yet – a Bayern Munich player.
Previous reports had suggested the Barcelona midfield had agreed a deal to reunite with Pep Guardiola. And yet Bayern’s sporting director Matthias Sammer has quashed those suggestions.
“Why would we not communicate it if something was signed?” he said. “No, of course that is not the case.”
United fans still have hope, for now, that their midfield can be bolstered by a player of outstanding quality. But Guardiola’s recent comments – along with reports that Moyes sees Thiago as a possibility rather than a priority – suggest the 22-year-old remains more likely to move to the Bundesliga than the Premier League.
Should Moyes miss out on Thiago, it won’t be due to money, with reports suggesting there is a substantial transfer kitty available to the new manager should he want it.
Speaking about possible arrivals, chief executive Ed Woodward said, “We haven’t got money burning a hole in our pocket, but we have got a strategy on player purchases and if David wants to go after a stellar player he can do that.”
The definition of “stellar player” – at least as far as the reports are concerned – appears to include only Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.
image: © castroquini2011